The first test for the Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD), after the breakdown of the mahagathbandhan (grand alliance) and imprisonment of its president Lalu Prasad after conviction in a fodder scam case, is slated to come up next month in the byelection to the Araria Lok Sabha constituency in Bihar. The seat fell vacant on the death of the RJD MP Mohammed Taslimuddin in September last year. As per rules, the seat has to be filled within six months.Mr. Taslimuddin’s son Sarfaraz Alam is now a Janata Dal (U) legislator. He had fought on the JD(U) ticket as part of an understanding between the two parties. The party is now keen that he come back and contest the seat his father once held. “He [Sarfaraz Alam] is definitely one of the candidates we are considering but there are others too. We will take a formal decision once the election is notified,” RJD spokesperson Manoj K. Jha said. Mr. Alam on his part is ambivalent and is not denying that he may switch sides for the bypoll. “I believe that cadres are the actual party. I am currently in JD(U) and will take a call once I decide to fight,” he told The Hindu. In 2014, Mr. Taslimuddin had won the poll by a margin of over 1.46 lakh votes over the BJP candidate. The JD(U) candidate came a poor third in the contest. If one were to add the votes polled for JD(U) and BJP, they easily exceed RJD’s tally by over 83,000 votes. Mr. Jha disagreed that the bypoll will be a litmus test for his party or a bellwether for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. “We had won the seat in 2014 despite a Modi wave. So I am sure we shall win it once more,” he said.